How would you like to move to a new town to take over the reins at a 200-year-old company? That 200-year-old company is the revered Louisville Stoneware, and seven years ago, Lisa Masters, who is not a potter or a ceramics expert by any means, did just that. Since her introduction to the company, she has overseen a major addition to the retail and event space and a brand modernization. With some employees who have worked at the same jobs there for more than 20 years, Lisa has learned the trade through listening and watching and being curious. She’s always moving and never holed up in her office; you will find her walking around or in the retail space most days, talking to employees and customers. We are excited to see what is next for one of Louisville’s favorite companies. Welcome, Lisa, today’s FACE of Louisville.
How did someone with a background in economics and medical sales end up at a pottery company?
Having been in medical sales for over 12 years, I was ready for a change. A new challenge. I had just moved to Louisville from Chicago. About that time, Louisville Stoneware was looking for change, as well. I met the owner and learned more about the opportunity, I loved the ideas and direction of the company. Of course, knowing the long history of Louisville Stoneware, I must admit I was nervous. Having always had a passion for pottery helped a little! I took on my role at Louisville Stoneware over seven years ago and have never looked back.
In your opinion, what is the most interesting thing about Louisville Stoneware?
It would have to be learning of so many generations that have treasured the pieces. I’ve heard amazing stories of how stoneware has been passed down through families for 50, 60, even 70 years. There’s a lot of history and interesting facts to learn when you are part of a 200-year-old company.
What is one job there that you wish you could do? (Paint, work the kiln, etc.)
Paint. I can truly appreciate the talent of our artists and find it so inspiring. I paint for fun, however, I’m not sure anyone else would want to purchase my art.
What’s it like to run a company that is 200 years old? What kind of changes have happened since you came on board?
It’s exciting and challenging. There’s constant change as we continue to make our traditional patterns, while also creating new patterns for the next generations. It’s also important to create new shapes and add to collections. So many people love to entertain; we have a great selection of pieces for any size gathering. We have also started offering some great local products to pair with our pieces.
Give us a peek at your agenda. What’s a typical day or week like for you?
It’s a mix of balancing family and work. Getting my son, Colton, off to school before heading to work is the start of my day. My role at work is to support and help an amazing group of people. In addition, I get to work with many local companies that order custom gifts for clients and employees. This keeps me in touch with the community. Finishing up the day, I like cooking dinner and sitting down as a family to share a meal. Of course, we squeeze in a few rounds of fetch with the dogs before bath time!
Who are your mentors and what advice do you treasure?
My Dad. Some of the best advice he gave me was that I am in charge of my attitude and my behavior, no one else. To be kind, honest, work hard and have fun. After that, he says, the rest will come.
Fill in the blank. You’ll never see me without my:
Where can we find you hanging out around town?
Entertaining with family and friends, usually at our house
What’s your bucket list travel destination?
Favorite thing to do in Louisville?
When we aren’t entertaining at home, we love to try a new local restaurant. There are so many great restaurants in Louisville.
Night owl or early bird? What do you do during that quiet time?
Night owl. I don’t have a lot of down time, but I usually reflect on the day, go for a walk or catch up on reading.
Tell us some of your favorite local restaurants.
What’s on your personal reading list right now?
I have a 3-year-old, so I do read a lot, usually about trains though. I’m overdue for some reading in my down time. I liked the recommendations of some your readers, so I’ve updated my list with Outliers and The Secrets of Happy Families! Thanks for sharing.
Lightning round! Give us your:
- Candy or junk food splurge: BBQ potato chips
- Guilty pleasure song: I like a lot of different music, but this one would probably include Beastie Boys.
- Tearjerker movie pick: I usually like a good comedy, but I’d say Beaches.
- Standby nail polish color: OPI cotton candy
- Favorite cocktail: Chardonnay
- Cartoon alter-ego: My coworkers would say Jane Jetson. They say I’m always “zipping around from here to there to get things done!” That would probably be a fit. I do like finding neat gadgets for the house. Like our robot vacuum that cleans while I’m gone.
What are three of your favorite things right now?
- Cory & Colton, my husband and son!!
- I love that fall is approaching. It’s my favorite time of year.
- Beautycounter products. They are truly all natural. While I enjoy the skin care line, they have a wonderful line of bath products and sunscreen for the rest of the family, too.
Thank you, Lisa! And thank you to our talented FACES photographer, Adele Reding. See more of her portfolio here.